Problem: Many pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products that are created from natural sources involve using solvent extraction to remove the desired components from the biomass. After extraction, the remaining wet cake material is considered a waste stream and is typically classified as a hazardous material due to the residual solvent content. In order to reduce the cost impact of these waste streams, manufacturers need a way to separate the residual solvent from the biomass material. A solvent recovery process could create both a recoverable solvent stream and a disposable, or potentially useable, biomass.
One example of this commercial requirement was:
Additional considerations included:
Solution: The Solidaire® paddle dryer system by Bepex International was used as the heart of a complete solvent recovery system to remove the solvent from the biomass material. A Bepex Disintegrator was used to take the large pieces of wetcake from the filter press and break it down into coarse grind prior to the solvent recovery step.
At Bepex’s Process Development Center, wet cake was first broken down into smaller pieces in the Disintegrator. This created a coarse powder to help with material handling and solvent recovery. The material was then fed at a constant rate into the Solidaire, and the exhaust gas generated went through a condenser to recover the solvent. Because of the Solidaire’s efficiency and low residence time, cooking of the biomass was minimized, thus preserving it for potential animal feed use.
Benefits and Results:
|Wetcake Values||Final Product|
|Solvent Content||> 40%||<500 ppm|
|Product Consistency||Large Pieces (2-3 inches)||Flowable Powder|